Season two of Hulu's Emmy-sweeping The Handmaid's Tale won't air until 2018, but until then we have Alias Grace, another high-production-value adaptation of a feminist Margaret Atwood novel. Alias Grace, the show, is written by child-actress-turned-writer-director-who-should-be-a-household-name Sarah Polley, who has been interested in bringing the story to the screen "literally her entire adult life," according to a piece in Vanity Fair on Polley and the series premiere's director Mary Harron, who also directed, among other projects, American Psycho.
Starring Sarah Gadon, Zachary Levi and Anna Paquin, the 6-part series takes place in 19th-century Canada, where “a psychiatrist weighs whether a murderess should be pardoned due to insanity,” according to Netflix’s synopsis. It's based on a true story, too. And if that juicy log line's not enough to whet your appetite, consider that the series has been getting paeans of praise on Twitter, with many noting the performances of the leading cast as a highlight.
As one Twitter fan asked, "WHERE'S THE ALIAS GRACE HYPE THE WAY THERE WAS FOR MINDHUNTER THIS IS SUCH A GOOD SHOW YOU HEATHENS!!!!!!" (Though to be fair, Alias Grace did just drop on Netflix on Friday.)
Critics, too, are lining up to crown Alias Grace the new ruler of our prestige television moment. In rave after rave, writers are finding depth, nuance, and an (unfortunately) timely subject matter.
After weeks of stories about men abusing women (and other men) in Hollywood (and beyond), especially in light of the circumstances surrounding Netflix ending its first prestige drama, House of Cards, Sarah Polley and Mary Harron adapting a Margaret Atwood novel all about the desperation caused by female oppression and harassment is a tonic all too sweet. The medicine your binge-watching schedule needs.